Complaints and Investigations

Complaints and Investigations Key Steps

The State Medical Board of Ohio’s purpose is to protect the public. The Board has a responsibility to evaluate every complaint they receive.

 

Confidentiality


The Medical Board is required by state law to maintain the confidentiality of all information related to Board investigations. For example, you may be the subject of the complaint. However, if you are not the subject of the complaint, you still may be contacted for information related to the investigation. Either way, the investigator cannot disclose your role to anyone, including you, during an open investigation. An exception is that if you are the subject of the complaint, the investigator may be required to acknowledge that fact to you in order to investigate.

 

Complaint Process


Each complaint is appropriately triaged prior to being assigned to an investigator. Although certain standards are adhered to, each complaint and situation present a unique set of circumstances and is handled as such. Not all complaints result in an investigation or discipline.

 

Once a complaint is assigned to an investigator, it becomes an investigative case. We investigate using the complaint number assigned at intake.    

 

Investigative Interview


Upon receipt of the complaint, the investigator may decide to gather preliminary information before contacting the Subject of Investigation (SOI). Such activities may include interviewing the complainant, reviewing an OARRS report or the subpoena of medical records. With the complainant’s permission, the complaint may be sent to the SOI for a response. If allegations pose a serious risk to the public, the complaint may be sent directly to the Enforcement section attorneys for review.

 

The investigator may contact the SOI by telephone to schedule an interview. Sometimes, the nature of the complaint requires an unscheduled office visit. Examples include allegations of a dirty office or allegations of drug/alcohol impairment. 

 

Follow-up Timetables


Because the Board conducts thorough and just investigations, an average time for follow-up contacts is not easily determined. Factors which contribute to delays include working in coordination with other regulatory or law enforcement agencies or the unavailability of witnesses. For more information about timeframes, visit Case Management Timeline 

 

Investigative Report and Review


When the investigator has gathered necessary information for the case, they will prepare a Report of Investigation (ROI). The ROI is reviewed and approved by the Investigator Supervisor. The report is then routed to the Board’s Secretary and Supervising Member for review. The Secretary and Supervising Member are responsible for supervising all Medical Board investigations, according to law. 

 

Determination of Outcomes


The Secretary and Supervising Member determine the next steps of the process, which may include:

  • close the complaint

  • subpoena medical records for review

  • direct additional investigation

  • request an Investigative Office Conference with the SOI

  • direct the development of formal disciplinary action 

 

Types of Actions: Disciplinary and Non-disciplinary


Disciplinary

If the investigation supports disciplinary action from the Board, you will receive a letter from the Board notifying you that you are entitled to a hearing regarding the matters outlined in the letter. For more information about the Medical Board’s Hearing Process, visit State Medical Board of Ohio's Hearing Process

 

All disciplinary actions are matters of public record and may include:

  • board order

  • consent agreement  

  • operation of law for certain types of criminal conviction

 

Non-disciplinary

If the investigation does not justify formal action, but does leave the Board with concerns, the Board may recommend remedial education or caution the SOI regarding problematic activities. 

 

Helpful Links


Disciplinary Guidelines

Fining Guidelines

 

To check on the status of a complaint, please email: complaints@med.ohio.gov.